As Umno beats war drums for GE15, where does the govt-PH MoU stands now?
SHAH ALAM - As calls for an early general election intensify especially from Umno, drawing from their massive wins in recent state elections, many are now questioning whether the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Transformation and Political Stability inked between the federal government and Pakatan Harapan (PH) will end prematurely before it expires on July 31.
While there has been inclination by both the federal government and PH to see the current administration fulfil its service until the term ends in 2023, key party leaders, even in the opposition, have come to terms that the MoU will not be extended beyond July and a general election could be called within the year.PM under siege
On April 15, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob clarified that he would abide by the decision made by Umno Supreme Council (MT) not to extend the MoU when it expires on July 31.
Umno secretary-general Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan had also stated that Ismail Sabri has to abide by the party’s decision as the MoU was signed by the party and not a singular representative of the party.
This indirectly signifies that despite being the prime minister, Ismail Sabri was bound by the party’s decision.
Recently, Ismail Sabri, who is Umno's vice president, was also nominated as Umno's prime minister candidate in the 15th General Election (GE15) however political pundits opined that this move was merely to placate the Bera MP to consider calling for an early GE15.
This assessment however was dismissed by Ahmad who insisted that naming Ismail Sabri as their prime minister candidate was reached unanimously by the party.
In repeated statements by Umno leaders such as Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin and even Datuk Seri Najib Razak, all have indicated that GE15 should be called after the MoU expires in July.
The MoU was signed after Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had stepped down in August after pressure from Umno.
While Muhyiddin led the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition, he recently stated that he would follow up with Ismail Sabri on the federal administration's decision on whether to extend the MoU or otherwise.MoU signed between federal government and PH, not Umno
Responding to Umno’s decision not to extend the MoU beyond July, on April 16, DAP secretary-general Anthony Loke Siew Fook stressed that the agreement was signed between the federal government and PH, not the Umno leadership.
Loke stressed that any discussion on the MoU must be done formally between all relevant parties.
However, Loke also stated that the opposition had no issue in extending the MoU, especially after the amendment to the Federal Constitution for the anti-party hopping bill will be passed.
Similar sentiment was also stated by Amanah communications director Khalid Samad on the same day.
On April 17, PKR communications chief Fahmi Fadzil reiterated again that the MoU will stand until Parliament is dissolved, not just until July 31.
Fahmi said there are two key points in the MoU, which is the dissolution of Parliament and the conclusion of the MoU, which are two separate entities and often misread.
Fahmi explained should the government decide not to dissolve Parliament, then the MoU will remain in force until August 15, 2023, when Parliament is automatically dissolved.
Currently, 13 of the 18 issues in the MoU have been resolved, with the remainder, including the anti party-hopping Bill, still under progress, explained Fahmi.
Fahmi was explaining the opposition’s current stance on the MoU during a joint press conference with Selangor BN communications chief Isham Jalil.
Both men were in attendance for a special press conference to announce the debate between Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on Sapura Energy.
However, Isham, speaking on behalf of Umno, explained that the party is not bound by the MoU and will not support the government if they decide to extend the agreement.
The MoU comprised six initiatives namely empowerment of Covid-19 plans, administrative transformation, parliamentary reforms, Malaysia Agreement MA63, judicial independence and the establishment of a steering committee.
The MoU was signed on September 13, 2021.